Believe it or not, schizophrenia is a serious mental problem that has been around for much longer than most people tend to think. Most professionals are certain that schizophrenia is a disease process that takes place within the brain and that the disease is, in fact, influenced greatly by certain life experiences(Anderson 80). The one significant problem surrounding schizophrenia is that no one is absolutely positive as to what causes schizophrenia and of how it actually exists in the brain. Most of what people actually know about schizophrenia today comes from medicine books and research from Europe during the 19th century. Behaviors that actually resemble the known symptoms of schizophrenia date as far back as the early 12th century B.C.(Anderson 80). Today schizophrenia affects approximately 2.2 million people in the U.S., which is about 1% of the nation’s population(Schizophreia.com). As a matter of fact, about 34% of the admissions to mental hospitals are patients that have been diagnosed with the disease of schizophrenia. Still, there are some who state that these estimates are somewhat incorrect due to misdiagnoses and mistakes. Diagnoses is a process that requires the patient showing regular signs of the schizophrenic symptoms which have lasted for at least six months(Gallaghel 61). It has been found that schizophrenia usually begins early in the patient’s life, such as adolescence. The patient’s age during hospitalization is primarily twenty to forty years(Galleghel 62). It has also been found that schizophrenia affects more men between the ages of sixteen and twenty-five and more women within the age range of twenty-five to thirty. Schizophrenics have a relatively poor chance of recovery and some patients tend to remain institutionalized for long periods in state hospitals(Schizophrenia.com). Fortunately, there is much more hope for diagnosed schizophrenics today due to advances in medicine and research.
Although the label of schizophrenic refers to these mentally ill patients, there are actually a wide variety of types of symptoms of schizophrenia. The general symptoms of schizophrenia are found in many different combinations. Schizophrenic patients are diagnosed and placed under five major categories. One of these categories is the disorganized type. Patients who suffer from this particular type of schizophrenia usually exhibit primitive and uninhibited behavior(Travis 64). They will perform certain actions unpredictably and usually are grinning and giggling. Another category is the catatonic type of schizophrenia. In fact, there are two types of catatonic schizophrenics. The first is the excited type. These schizophrenics are usually very excissive and sometimes show violent physical activity. The second type, the withdrawn, will usually display “inhibited and manifested stupor, refusal to eat, and an attempt to retain feces(Campbell 613).” Within the paranoid types are patients who are very persecutory or will have “grandiose delusions” which occurs along with hallucinations. Also, these patients tend to be frequently hostile and sometimes violent. Schizoaffective types will display a variety of schizophrenic symptoms and possibly mood swings. Last is the undifferentiated type. These schizophrenics generally demonstrate a mixture of the other schizophrenic types(Gallaghel 63).
The causes of Schizophrenia are still unexplained as of today. Still, the research in schizophrenia is extremely extensive and there are now nearly twenty theories regarding how schizophrenia is caused(Campbell 611). Theorist debate profusely as to whether schizophrenia is mainly caused by biogenic forces or whether the cause is brought about more by the impact of environmental forces surrounding the schizophrenic(Gallaghel 64). These environmental forces are forces concerning influences in life such as a patient’s culture or family life. This is in contrast to the biogenic forces which refer to forces such as genes of problems relating to the body and brain(Anderson 13). It has been conclude, as a matter of fact, that genetics do play a major role in the cause of schizophrenia. For example, the probability of receiving schizophrenia as a result of being the child of two parents without the disease is 1%. If one parent has been diagnosed with schizophrenia, the probability of having schizophrenia as the offspring of this parent is 13%. The chance is 35% if both the parents of the child have been diagnosed with schizophrenia(Schizophrenia.com). This proves that biogenetics do indeed take part in schizophrenia.
Despite what many believe today, schizophrenia is not “split personality.” This idea has